Wednesday, June 14, 2006

DOES AMERICA EXIST?

I WAS RECENTLY THINKING ABOUT THE AMERICA I GREW UP IN.
YES, TIMES ARE DIFFERENT. YES, THINGS CHANGE.
BUT, THE THOUGHT I WAS LEFT WITH IS, 'DOES THAT AMERICA EXIST'?

DID IT EVER REALLY EXIST?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

does existence exist?

quicksand said...

SOMEBODY'S BEEN TAKING A PHILOSOPHY COURSE!

The Political Impaler said...

That America disappeared the day the music died

Anonymous said...

As one who came here hoping to find America, I have to tell you that it never existed...A merica is a concept therefore not tangible..just imaginable

quicksand said...

ANON,
IS THE 'CONCEPT' STILL EXISTING FOR YOU? HAS IT CHANGED?

SADMAN said...

When I came to this country a very long time ago, America was exactly as I anticipated it, "plenty of peace", "a lot of hopes" and "the unstoppable beautiful dreams for me and my family" were practically on every corner of every street of every town I've been through. Perhaps that where I came from; all of the above! were never provided.
18 years later?
And older!
I don't know!
I'm sorry to say! But!
I lost peace, ran out of hopes, and my unstoppable dreams ultimately became nightmares.
I’m aware that it’s sad, yet I'm very well aware that it’s true.
Sorry! didn't mean to offend any one, but these are my true feelings about this country at the moment.

quicksand said...

SADMAN,
WITH ALL THE WRONG TURNS THIS AMAZING COUNTRY HAS MADE, IT USUALLY TRAVELS IN A GOOD DIRECTION.
OUR PRESENT GOVERNMENT HAS MADE A U-TURN, AND IS RETURNING TO DARKER TIMES.
WORSE, SOMEONE RECENTLY WROTE THAT WHAT'S MORE DAMAGING THAN OUR PRESENT LEADERSHIP IS OUR PRESENT FOLLOWERSHIP.

quicksand said...

MUSIC DIED.

OL' BLUE EYES?
THE KING?
THE FAB FOUR?
THE BOSS?
THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN?

WE HAVE THE AMERICAN IDLES!

SADMAN said...

I believe that for everything there is an end, "even this leadership" like my mother used to say to me always;" this too shall pass".
I just hope for all of us to pull through and survive this stupid leadership, and hope as well that the next one doesn't follow his lousy, dishonest and humiliating footsteps, and mainly because this country doesn't need a believer! But instead! It sure needs the right leader.
I certainly hope that who ever he is, does not use his religion for leadership, but use his integrity and honesty for what this country needs, and not what he personally needs instead.
Yet! The big question is:
Does such person exist?

Mr. T said...

America exists today as it always has. Nothing has changed.

This country has never had the right leader doing things that were best for the country.

With very little revision, you could apply sadman's description to any of our current/recent leaders.

Good leaders exist but would never consider entering our political system.

The only way anything will change is if the American public gets off its fat ass and organizes.

Bitching and complaining will do very little. Action is needed. Voting is not enough.

The extreme wings of both parties wield too much power over our political system.

SADMAN said...

Because no one took the stand and did anything about our present leader six God damn years ago, whom cheated his way in to lead the most beautiful country in the world, I don’t think that anyone could afford doing anything at the present time, except for hoping to survive the next two tears without anymore damage to this fascinating country.
Our soldiers are dieing in foreign countries where we “The Americans” have no business being there.
However! If the citizens cared enough to stand up for their country and their cause and not worry about what the outcome is, for the outcome could be far better than the present one, not to mention that “anyone” is much better than the one that we have right now, nevertheless! We wouldn’t be commenting on this lost subject of why is America is where it is right now.
We could be still on the top of the world, with a reputable land of the free, and the best land of opportunities yet.

joe blow mofo said...

I'm sure if you think about the America of your youth you would realize a main ingredient of that America was that it felt good to be an American. How many of us can say that today, red or blue? This is something which neither Osama bin Laden nor any terrorist or dictator could ever take away from us. Only our leaders could do that.

Anonymous said...

Difficult times.
Difficult choices.
Many reasons we are in this situation. What do we do?
Let's be successful in Iraq and get out. Let's cripple the radical muslims so the moderate muslims win. Let's stabilize Afghanistan and get out. Let's control our borders. Let's force Isreal and Palestine to coexist peacefully.

Anonymous said...

Man, would I hate to be at a party with you people. The original statement was: things are different, things change ... with that in mind ... it is possible to feel proud of the political activism that exists, of the people who are attempting to have a positive effect. Let's get out - take advantage of the beauty around us and remember what we're pinning our hopes on. Sorry to shine on your parades!

Anonymous said...

Sticking our heads in the sand will not work. The situation we are in now is a result of doing that for the past 25 years.

quicksand said...

HYPOCRISY AND HUBRIS IS WEIGHING US DOWN.
THE MUSCLE AND HORMONES OF THE WORLD WON'T LET DADDY MAKE ALL THE RULES ANYMORE.
WE NERVOUSLY KEEP TELLING OURSELVES THAT 'WE'RE THE GREATEST' WITHOUT ACTUALLY DOING MUCH TO PROVE IT.


WHERE HAVE YOU GONE JOE DAMAGGIO?

Violet said...

I love this question. Of course America exists. The question we need to ask ourselves has America ever existed the way we were taught by family and government. And then the obvious next question: Is it possible to create a reality that matches the America we read about in elementary school text books.

My family came to America after WW II. My grandmother and her daughters, including my mother, left a palatial home in Italy and an elevated status in her village to join her husband who told her that the streets of America were paved in gold. When they arrived at the waterfront, and then at their new apartment building in Brooklyn, my mother kept looking for the golden streets but instead they were nothing more than dirty asphalt. The ideals of America were, however, golden, especially after they had lived through Mussolini and the Germans, at first as aggressors and then desperate and hungry.
Every time my grandmother arrived here, she bowed down and kissed the land. After Kennedy was assassinated she took me to see a motorcade in which the new president was traveling. She lifted me up to shake his hand, and put her back out for months, but she didn't care. I had touched the hand of the president of the United States.

I believed we were a melting pot, because I was told we were. And in Brooklyn it seemed so. That was until block busting. When they took me from Brooklyn I felt as if forceps had reached in and pulled me from the womb. But a marriage gone bad, gangs, and my grandparents decision to return to Italy proved that even gold can tarnish.

I lived my youth in fear of the Russians, Richard Spec, and race riots. I watched the cities burn on TV and I watched the body counts in Vietnam. To me, that was America, the only America I knew. And I had it easy. I wasn't black in Mississippi, or a gay man, or impoverished in Appalachia.

America is new. When my daughters and I used to travel cross country by car every summer, I marveled at how vast this nation is, how diverse, and also how empty. I realized how incredible it is that we do function as individual states under one unified federal government. In that regard, we are quite amazing, and in the sense that we do struggle to make right what is wrong with us.

To me the greatest loss of that which WAS America is the corporatization of our homeland. We have been bought, and the consequences are profound. When you trade concepts like liberty, freedom, and justice for the bottom line, you are doomed.

It will take many years to undo the damage that this administration has done.

quicksand said...

THANK YOU, VIOLET, FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL AND INSIGHTFUL COMMENT.
I THINK THAT SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY DISAPPOINTED IN AMERICA FEEL THE WAY THEY DO BECAUSE THEY KNOW AMERICA CAN BE SO MUCH BETTER THAN IT'S BECOME.

Ben's friend said...

I too was moved by Violet's eloquence.

If I could add my 2 cents I would like to say that America has always had its seamy and nasty side. Look what we did to the Indians from the get go. Look what we did with slavery. Our history is peppered with unjust wars, misleading and self serving leaders, corrupt election processes, persecution of various minorities. Yet, despite all the warts, there was some intangible nobility which transcended all our faults. Throughout our sometimes tainted history there was a sense of optimism and generosity and fair play which set us apart from other areas of the world. Perhaps it was illusionary chauvanism, but it seemed to be there none the less. I'm sorry to say that today, I am most pessimistic of the nobility of my country. Never before have I been so despondent about our foriegn policies and what I perceive as a bully mentality toward the rest of the world. As angry as I was during the dark days of the Nixon administration, I was heartened by a groundswell of public opinion and a vigilant and active press. Ulitmately, the American spirit prevailed. That was good.

Today, I see no such groundswell of public outrage. Nor do I see a press which is anything more than lap dogs to the current administration. In my opinion these are the darkest days for our democracy. The current administration has hijacked America's good will and I see no sign of things turning around. I hope I am wrong in my pessimsitic analysis.

Violet said...

Thanks for your kind words, and for your own thoughts. Recently I attended two college graduations. The keynote at one was Ben Bernanke, chair of the Federal Reserve. I didn't understand much because his speech was very technical, long, and not very user friendly, but what I did understand I didn't find inspiring. In fact, I found it very nationalistic. The other speaker was New York Time's publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. His speech left me tearing and cheering. I hope you will forgive me for posting it here, because I couldn't possibly do it justice by paraphrasing it. The really good stuff comes later in the speech, but I think it fits this thread perfectly.

Sunday, May 21st 2006

Good morning and my most heartfelt congratulations.

As the father of two relatively recent college graduates, I know how
important this moment is to all of you. Whether mother or father, you are now breathing a huge sigh of relief. Your child has the possibility of a
future and, while the bills remain to be paid, at least they've stopped
growing.

But as much as I'd like today to be about us parents, I know it's not. It's about the rest of you our children and our future. So, to all of you well done.

This is my first ever commencement speech and, depending on your reviews, maybe my last.

Worse, the truth is I even skipped my own graduation. It was a glorious
day. My cousin and fellow graduate and I heard the road calling. Motorcycles; speeches no brainer. Thank goodness it's gray and overcast today, so most of you are here.

Given my lack of commencement experience I prepared for today the way good journalists are supposed to -- I reported out the story. I read what generations of other commencement speakers had said and what themes they hit.

Ninety five percent of them come down to this: "Today you enter the
real world. Follow your heart. Find what you love and do it."

Who can argue with such wisdom? It's sort of a motherhood and apple pie statement. It sounds so easy.

So let's all tip our hat to the honesty of our favorite non-newscaster, Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. Two years ago he told a graduating class at William and Mary:

"So how do you know what is the right path to choose to get the results you desire? The honest answer is this. You don't. And accepting that greatly eases the anxiety of your life experience."

As a journalist; as a media executive; as a human being -- I come to
you fully aware of the need we all have to heed Mr. Stewart's words and
ease our anxieties. The vagaries of life are enormous, and it is those very vagaries about which I want to talk with you.

I'll start with an apology.

When I graduated from college in 1974, my fellow students and I had
just ended the war in Vietnam and ousted President Nixon. Okay, that's not quite true. Yes, the war did end and yes, Nixon did resign in disgrace
but maybe there were larger forces at play.

Either way, we entered the real world committed to making it a better, safer, cleaner, more equal place. We were determined not to repeat
the mistakes of our predecessors. We had seen the horrors and futility of
war and smelled the stench of corruption in government.

Our children, we vowed, would never know that.

So, well, sorry. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a
misbegotten war in a foreign land.

You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still
fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to
start a new life; the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to
choose.

You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drives policy and environmentalists have to relentlessly fight for every gain.

You weren't. But you are. And for that I'm sorry.

Starting today, it will be more and more up to you to decide what world you will bequeath to your children (yes, most of you will be having children it just goes with the territory).

As you continue to make the

choices that define your life and by the way, attending and graduating from college was a critical one you also will be deffining the world you live in. Think of it as your personal version of what in the scientific world (or perhaps the science fiction world) is known as the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect holds that the smallest of actions -- say, the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in the mountains of Bolivia -- can lead over time to enormous consequences -- say, a hurricane in Africa.

Each of you will face many crossroads, some of them seemingly small and inconsequential. You will choose at each point whether to be bold or hesitant; inclusive or elitist; generous or stingy. And each one of your choices will result not only in how people define you. Each one will help shape the world you make for the rest of us.

So I have a plea and I have a piece of advice. The advice is to focus on the small decisions, because they add up very quickly. And I don't mean what job you take or what town you live in. Those will change as you change. I mean decisions like whether to pick up that overturned trash can or whether to stop for that stranded motorist. Those are the decisions that can change our world just as surely as a butterfly can create a hurricane.

Yes, it's important that those of us at The New York Times have the courage of our own convictions and defend the rights of our journalists to protect their sources or, after much debate and discussion, publish the news that our government is bypassing it's own legal systems to tap into phone calls made to and from the United States.

But those big decisions rest on a stable foundation which has been built by thousands of small decisions from the way we protect our reporters and photographers in war-torn areas such as Iraq (and even then lose too many) to how we've shattered the glass ceiling that for too long stopped women from moving into the highest levels of leadership.

And my plea is: engage. Our world needs you. It needs your energy and your caring; it needs your commitment and your values. If we don't get them our society all of us will continue to aimlessly drift, failailing to make our country and our world a place that makes us proud.

Engage. Help make decisions.

Vote. Read a newspaper (what, you thought the publisher of The New York Times wouldn't get there?) Knowing what's happening in your world, your country, your neighborhood is the critical precursor to being a citizen of a democracy. Each one of you who forsakes your role in keeping our democracy alive by either inaction or, perhaps worse, by action based on ignorance, threatens all the rest of us. So, read a newspaper and build a community.

As you already heard, I'm here in large part because I'm a rock climber. I work in New York City but I come to New Paltz to clear my head and batter my body against those beautiful cliffs up there. And this ties in to another bit of reporting I did in preparation for today. I found what may well be one of the shortest commencement speeches every given.

It was 1941. Following what was no doubt an excessive introduction, - sort of like mine - our speaker walked to the lectern, glared out at the assembled multitude and in his trademark bark intoned: "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."

And then Winston Churchill sat down.

With a philosophy like that, Sir Winston would have made one hell of a rock climber. Life is relentless. When you think you've made the crucial move -- what in climbing parlance is called The Crux -- it always throws you another one. And another. And another.

These are the vagaries of which I spoke earlier in these remarks. In my experience, the only way to prepare for them is inside each of you. It is not about the job you have or the money you make. It is about commitment and courage; it's about caring and fortitude. It's about supporting those around you and, just as importantly, it's about letting them support you. In the parlance of the climber, trust that you're [indecipherable].

Engage; get the small decisions right; never give in and please -- please build us a world of which we can be proud. Go make a damn difference.

None of you wants to be standing where I am 30 years from now apologizing to the next generation of bright and shiny college graduates.

Thank you.

quicksand said...

ROSES ARE RED
VIOLET IS BLUE

THANK YOU FOR SHARING.

YEARS AGO I WAS IN A CHINESE RESTAURANT WITH SOME FRIENDS AND FRIENDS OF FRIENDS.
THERE WERE PROTESTS ON THE STREET.
GARY DESPISED THE PROTESTERS. HE SHOWED CONTEMPT FOR ME BECAUSE I SUPPORTED THEIR EFFORTS.
HE SAID, "YOU AND THE PROTESTERS SHOULD MOVE TO RUSSIA [U.S.S.R.] IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT HERE.
I SUGGESTED THAT MAYBE HE MIGHT WANT TO MOVE TO RUSSIA; A COUNTRY WHICH SUPPORTED HIS NO-PROTESTING-POLICY.

I THINK THAT'S GOING ON NOW. THOSE ACCUSED OF BEING ANTI-AMERICAN ARE ACTUALLY THE ONES WHO APPRECIATE AMERICA SO MUCH THAT THEY HATE SEEING IT BEHAVE SO UN-AMERICAN.

Violet said...

It's interesting that you say that Quicksand. People don't seem to "get" America, do they? I mean that's fine if you're NOT an American, but these ARE Americans. They seem to think that we work for the government, and that our government is a monarchy that shouldn't be challenged. I believe quite the opposite. The beauty of being an American is that the framers recognized our rights and put them into writing. They knew that the greatest threat to our liberty would be an ill-informed population that served the federal government masters, instead of those servants serving us. I'm right there with you. As soon as someone suggests that I leave the country because I voice my dissent, I know that he or she unknowingly would prefer a theocracy, a Fascist state, or some kind of dictatorial rule that would make his or her life easier, no thinking necessary. That's not America, but there are plenty of other countries that I'm sure would accommodate them.

Let's take one of the most recent instances where our free speech was threatened: the SOTU address in which both Cindy Sheehan and Beverly Young were removed for wearing tee shirts that in no way attacked the president personally. There are restrictions on "fighting words," words on a shirt that are intended to pick a fight with an individual. But the words these women wore, Cindy had the number of dead in Iraq, and Beverly's shirt said "Support our Troops," were not fighting words. Cindy was ARRESTED, and even though Beverly put up a fight, she was not arrested, but still she was removed.

We are living in an age of federal secrecy, and it is dangerous, and it is NOT American.

quicksand said...

THANKS VIOLET.

IT'S LIKE ALICE IN HOMELAND. STRANGE.
SOME PEOPLE BOAST ABOUT OUR FREEDOMS BUT GET ANGRY WHEN THOSE FREEDOMS ARE EXERCISED.
IT'S 'LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT.'
NOT LOVE IT AND PRACTICE IT.

Anonymous said...

best regards, nice info http://www.heinfamilyfoundationscholarshipapplication.info/Tote_bag.html Real time blackjack honda http://www.venlafaxine-hcl-xr.info/how_to_use_proactiv_solution.html Honda civic si hfp package Games video games music and dance Ameriquest credit card Propecia po polsku Printing off digital photos parts honda civic